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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  July 30, 2009 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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host: good morning from washington, d.c. president obama on the road to sell his health care plan. rising concerns exist from the american public. in the house and senate, some movement on health care legislation helping us put all the pieces together today is david lightman. i want to start with this headline from "philadelphia inquirer." it looks like there is momentum for a vote. what is happening on the house side? guest: there is momentum toward a vote, but it is a small, but
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significant step. the four moderates agreed to certain things, including $100 billion in cuts from the original democratic plan, and to postpone any vote until september so they and the constituents could have time to look at the bill. the committee has 36 democrats. i believe it has 23 republicans. there are seven moderates. they needed the four moderates to get the bill out of the committee. host: the folks who compromise are part of the blue dog coalition in the energy and commerce committee. we went to the blue dog website. they suggest that the 52-member blue dog coalition has not taken a group position on health care legislation. today's announcement signifies that the process is moving forward. the broader coalition has not ratified any agreements related to the draft legislation.
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guest: it is a small but significant step. when we reporters were clustered around mike ross yesterday, the head of the task force, and he explained this to us. then we went down the hall to the congressman from louisiana who said he had not signed onto this. he said he wanted to understand this better. he said he wanted to talk to his constituents. three of the seven blue dogs did not go on to this. whether the house can get the 218 votes is not guaranteed. host: good morning. throughout the morning, we will take your phone calls and messages by e-mail and twitter. we will be talking to senator tom harkin. later in the program, we will be
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talking to nathan deal, a republican in the energy and commerce committee. finally, ouearl pomeroy. let's hear your phone call reactions. first, here's how you dial in. democrats, 202-737-0002. republicans, 202-737-0001. independents, 202-628-0205. before the first call, let's move to the senate side. there is a bipartisan group of six senators working on a draft of legislation to move forward in the senate. how is the larger senate looking at their work? guest: it is difficult to characterize the senate. some people are getting impatient.
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other people say, no bill without republican support. the senate is all over the place right now. host: our first telephone call is from winston-salem, n.c. on the independent line. thank you. i think health care is a good thing. the biggest problem, when social security even started, when medicare came out, not one voted for it. also, the party bought it. we need to have health care for everyone. i'm an independent voter. that's the way i vote.
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on capitol hill, they need to get it done. people need it. host: what do you mean when you say we need to have health care for everyone? explain your concept. caller: the reason i say that is [inaudible] what happens to the person behind you who? pays? -- what happens to the person behind you that pays for it? it is costing people. the two parties need to work together, get a good health care, and help all of us. host: thank you.
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how does that compare to what you have been reading in the public opinion polls? guest: there is a perception that the republicans are naysayers. there are several different republican plans. republicans do have alternatives. public opinion polls -- people are dissatisfied with the health care system. they want change. the public opinion polls reflect that. look at the polls. when people start getting asked about specifics, the numbers start to tumble. host: memphis, tenn., good morning. this is the democrats' line. caller: in the eight years that the republicans were in office, they did nothing about health care. the cost went up.
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now all the sudden, obama comes up with the plan to help people. they're putting out lies that you cannot choose and that they will take your health care away from you. blue dog democrats, which they say are democrats, and i really believe they are republicans, are really working to destroy the plant. they do not want to accomplish anything. thank you very much. host: thank you. we are looking at pictures of the president yesterday in a supermarket. he was touring in the south to sell this program. guest: in bristol, virginia. i do not think people want to destroy the president's plan. they want something that works and that is not going to break the bank, which is already broken. that is the challenge. host: lancaster, pa., john on the independent line.
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caller: good morning. it is great you have been talking about health care as much as you have been. i have been listening every day. people should always bear in mind that max baucus and chuck grassley and the blue dogs in the house, they take more money from health care and pharma then anyone in congress. it is basically bribery. you should have dwindledwhen bil wendell potter on. he is disclosing exactly what the health insurance companies do and how they have recission practices and how they make to gobs of money at the expense of people's health.
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he has been on about five different shows on cable. and bill moyer. he is agree representatives to straighten out this misinformation. host: thank you. the insurance companies and the role of campaign contributions. guest: campaign contributions and shaping the outcome, as long as i have been a reporter, this has been a story. we write about the contributions. we write about what this man says. does that influence them? it is difficult to show cause and effect. every now and then, you can. they're operating under a system that is legal. people may not like it, but what they do most often is legal. on insurers, there have been
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hundreds of hearings where insurance companies testify. these issues have been fully aired. that is one reason, i think, this concern about what insurers are doing and what others are doing, that is the reason you have so much momentum for health care. whether what they do is right or wrong, there is concern. host: there are many stories about money and the potential for influence. "the new york times" on the front page this morning -- and they write about one of the largest sources of campaign contributions to the senate democrats is a position own hospital and one of the country's poorest regions. they give two examples.
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host: the story says this -- guest: yes, a good story and in interesting incident. to say that a senator is acting this way because he or she got this amount of money, we will suggest it perhaps, but you cannot prove that. host: for david lightman, the next telephone call is from tennessee on the republican line. caller: good morning.
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i would like to comment on health care. i am 67 and retired. i have had problems with health. i have medicare. that is fine. i'm a former veteran. i have worked in this country. i'm a hard worker. i have poured concrete most of my life. i have looked at this. we have the money to fight wars for the oil companies. i do not want to hear no jive. i have been a veteran. i know about that crap. we have a government, a senate, and a congress. they are all the same. they protect the rich man. we have bill dealt their rich people for the last two years now. -- we have bailed out the rich
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people for the last two years. they have been ripping us off since 1973. working wages have declined since 1973. the poor man is whipped out here. we see the congress and the senate trying to get poor people health insurance. this is another here we go. protect the rich man. i have dealt with the doctors. we don't have doctors. doctors cannot do anything unless the check for the insurance company. the insurance company can change your medication by a telephone call. i know. it has been done to me. it is a shame. the people in this country ought to wake up and insist on term limits, but nobody wants to talk about it. thank you. host: thank you.
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the voice of a working-class man in his 60s. guest: i am sure he knows this, but just to repeat, in a house, the democrats' plan for helping to pay for health care is to impose a surtax on the earnings of wealthy people. it kicks in at $350,000. it increases at $500,000. for millionaires, it is something like 5.4%. the senate is not quite as sympathetic to read one of their big plans is to tax insurance companies that offer these expensive policies. guest: host: two of the national newspapers have new polls. support slips for health plan. it suggests here that in june, 32% said -- what have you heard
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about obama's health care plan? 32% said that idea. in july, 42%. in "the new york times" this morning -- this will be hit upon when members go home and massive campaigns hit the airwaves. guest: this is why the president wanted votes by the august recess, even though nobody thought he could finish the bill. he wanted the house to take the first floor vote. that is not going to happen. the fear was and is that they will go home for five weeks and this will be of interest groups and others a chance to really against this thing. i do not know if that is going to happen for a lot of reasons.
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people like the idea of changing the system. they want something done. the problem is when you get into the specifics. stop any senator involved in this and they will tell you the only way this will succeed is to put the whole package out there and vote on its. that way you can say, yes, you may not like this, but we also have other things in this package. that is very difficult to explain over a five-week recess. host: joe is sending us a twitter message. guest: we try and try. we will keep trying. this is a priority at c-span. this is a priority for us at mcclatchy. host: we have some of the graphics about the so-called blue dog compromise that was announced yesterday.
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host: this was all taken from a box in "vilsack for cisco conical" this morning. raising the exemption, help us understand what that would do. -- this is from "the san francisco chronicle." guest: if they only have a few employees, if they have to provide coverage for these employees, it could devastate
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profits. it could hurt them very much. they're also worried that if you still have a government auction, they will pay twice. one of the problems that you have with the house plan on the surtax is the fear that small businesses will be unduly affected. there's evidence that only 4% of small businesses will be affected. host: when did it become the norm to make profits of health care? the next phone call is on the democrats' line from cincinnati. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: my big concern is that i have been watching this for a long time and as baathist we
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need health care in this country, every time we start moving toward that, we have the scare tactics, and it seems that the public cannot connect the dots between the cost of health care in the problems in the economy. it boggles the mind how even though we know that people are suffering, that the health care cost is rising exponentially, the people who need health care cannot get it again. here we go been afraid that somebody is going to take their ability to choose away. we hear constantly that is not the way it is being planned, at least not by the president.
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i think that people need to stop being so afraid and start thinking for themselves and not listening to the sound bites that come across the television. one more thing. we're hearing now about obesity been such a problem. as a way for everybody to contribute, i would not have any problem with putting a 5 cent tax on every bottle of soda pop, every bottle of beer, and everything that can contribute to people's health. one nickel would mean that everybody contributes to paying for this health care. that's another thing. we get so afraid about taxes that we are afraid for everybody to contribute. there is a way for everybody to contribute. it is time that we stop being so
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afraid. it is time we start connecting the dots and get this thing done. host: let me ask you about your food tax proposal. would you single out those which contain sugar, or do you suggest an across-the-board food tax? caller: i think an across-the- board food tax would not be great because we all have to eat. we make choices about what we buy. if we're going to buy bottles of soda pop, and the good lord knows that the soda pop industry is making billions of dollars -- that is a choice we can make. if you want to buy a can of pop and to pay 5 cents extra on that, for me, that would be a great way to help support health
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care. i think that it could go to be heer and all of those things tht affect our health in an adverse way. i think that as a good way for even for people to help contribute. host: thank you. on the last point, the sweetened drinks industry is one of those that is already running advertisements. guest: how do you distinguish between taxing so go with servda and diet soda? there are things on the table. the caller should write to your congressman or twitter her congressman. i want to go back to one point she made about connecting the dots. one of the things that's talked about constantly in the halls of
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congress is how this health care system would fit into the economy and fit into the federal budget. we are running record federal deficits. it is only going to get worse. how does health care affect this? the president wants something deficit neutral. there is a lot of skepticism that can be done. host: next call is on the independent line. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a statement. it looks like the insurance companies have won again. monday, congress had fourmore or less tabled the public plan. tuesday, all the insurance company stoppeck skyrocketed. i think they won again.
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host: thank you. is the public auctiooption tabl? guest: no, it is alive in the house. however, the senate finance committee is highly unlikely to approve public option. they are likely to approve the system of co-ops. nothing is final and nothing will be final until late fall. host: there's a story in "the wall street journal" today.
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host: an explanation later on -- the next telephone call is from merrill laryland, republican li. good morning. caller: good morning. regarding the former ceo of cigna health insurance and their alleged ways of denying in coverage. a public option would do the same thing through rationing. i'm tired of hearing everyone talk about profit said slow it is a bad thing. -- profit as though it is a bad
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thing. free enterprise is what this economy was built on. host: would you explain your first comment about how the public option would affect the outcome? caller: the public option is not going to cover everybody all the time without rationing health care. there's no way to do that economically. guest: it is hard to comment on specifics. yester day this blue dog agreement fooled with the public auction in little bit. -- filled with the public option a little bit. the feeling among those who supports the public option is that it would put government in competition with the private insurance company. it is not rationing or dictating. all those details are getting worked out.
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host: the next phone call on our democrats wind, keiline, keith. caller: i was watching rachel maddow a few nights ago and she will cool. -- it proved that insurance companies are putting our allies about what this plan will do. --are putting allieout lies. the insurance companies are reaping people -- raping people. these people need to be locked up. as a guest said, it is not illegal. that's the problem. guest: one of the things i like
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about covering the story is that there are so many different points of view, different credible plans of the roof. -- different credible points of view. it is conducted reporters streamflow -- it is a reporter's dream. it is easy to contradict misinformation when you hear it. host: the announcement was made by the blue dog democrats about the compromise yesterday. two of the newspapers that covered capitol hill -- front page stories. what is the source of this reaction? guest: what happened yesterday after the blue dog deal was announced in the house energy and commerce committee, which was the last committee that needs to write a bill, we were
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suddenly told they were going in, but it would be a caucus because the liberals were upset. host: what were they upset about? guest: several things. they did not like the fact that the cost was coming down. they did not like the fact that the public option seems to be compromised. they want a universal plan that will cover as many as 47 million of the uninsured people as possible. will they be there in the end? probably, but you have to deal with the constituency. host: manassas, virginia on the independent line. caller: thank you. basically, anyone in this country that honestly believes that there is anyone on capitol hill that really cares about health care it's an
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illusionist. congressmaen will take their money and walk away. similar to finance and everything else. until we get people in the re, said term limits for senators, and we will always be the losers. thank you gu. guest: they care about health care. they care about changing the system. they have heard about this all their lives. there are veteran members who have been trying to do this for 40 years. what this gentleman should do, if he has not already, call his congressman and asked to talk to a staff member. i think they do care. how do they weigh all the different influences in different constituencies? that is the difficulty. host: k george sent us a
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twitter. the next phone call is from miami on the republican line. good morning. caller: thank you. good morning. every time i hear the president talk, i fear that there will be rationing. i have family in spain. there is socialized medicine there. my aunt fell and broke her hip. she is 83. when the doctor came out and ask him if she was getting rehabilitation, his answer was i am sorry but i do not make that decision. in other words, the government does. now she is in a wheelchair. she will no longer walk. that is because the government
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rations what they can do for her. that is exactly what they want to do here. that is why the elderly people, the more we see what is happening and what they want to do, the more we do not like this. i do not want the government -- i am retired from the government. i do not want the government to make the decision for me as to what kind of care i received. that is not right. thank you. guest: the president and members of congress insist there will not be rationing. i think what this caller should probably do is call their member of congress and say exactly what she just said to us and see what the answer is. i think she will be more at ease after that conversation. host: why? guest: because nobody is talking about rationing. they're talking about a public option where yes, there will be
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a public alternative, but you will still be able to choose your own physician. and they often cite medicare as a model for what they want to do. this would not be exactly like medicare, but still, medicare is a 44-year-old government run program for the elderly that arguably has worked. host: i cannot resist bringing in this headline. there was a huge medicare raid yesterday. more than two hundred agents worked on the $60 million bust, which included 12 search warrants. it involves using
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host: is this an important story to even think about right now? guest: yes, it shows no system is perfect, and maybe there are flaws that need to be addressed in the system here you have to constantly examine these things and constantly look to improve these things. our next call is ocean city, new jersey. this is susan on the democrats' line. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: mr. lightman, understand that the nation as a whole is suffering from the health care system. they head the health care in the state of virginia where doctors and nurses and nurse practitioners volunteer time to offer health services to the people. there were 2700 people that showed up. one woman showed up with an
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enlarged gallbladder. she could have died without that accessibility. the doctor told her that. it looked like doctors without borders in darfur. this is the a united states. there's no reason for that. as far as the blue dogs and the finance committee, their constituencies do not amount to the number of people who live in my county. they're making decisions that are going to determine what our health-care system will be in the future. is this something we have been fighting for since truman's time. i do not understand how they are abrams and to give -- i do not understand how they are a representative. the question is so much
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different. in the state of new jersey, are medical costs -- our medical costs and health insurance costs are not even comparable to what it is in other areas of the nation. they consider what i have s cadillac coverage? it is not. it is basic coverage between my employer and myself. it is costing me $20,000 for three people. i would love a explanation. i need to be educated and enlightened. host: thank you. we were talking about how this can seem like so much inside baseball covering the back-and- forth. guest: it is a great question. the senior members of the committee -- the longer you're there, the merkel you have. max baucus is chairman because he is the senior member of the committee. on the republican side, charles grassley from iowa is the senior
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member. olympia snowe is a senior and also a moderate republican who has known to do business with democrats. mike enzi is the top republican on the senate health committee. where are the urban senators? where are the suburban senators? it is done a lot on seniority and who they think they need for a deal. the good news is this. when he gets to the full senate, the rules are such that any senator can offer an amendment. you will have the urban voice in the suburban voice. there will be a full airing of this. in most cases, you need 60 votes in the senate to do anything. under the rules, once october 15 comes, they will only need 51. nonetheless, you need a coalition. host: alexander bolton is
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reporting that there are rumblings on capitol hill about max baucus' power. let me read it to you. here is what he brokwrote. some liberal democrats have suggested a secret ballot vote on whether or not to strip committee chairman of the gavel every two years. baucus has frustrated many colleagues by negotiating with republicans over health-care reform without producing a bill or even the details about the policies. this is from tom harkin, who will be our guest later. he is the chairman of the agriculture committee. guest: i have been hearing this stuff about senator max baucus for at least 10 years now since the bush tax cuts. liberals have qualms.
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. senator baucus has a history of building coalitions. he has a history of some success. it is hard to upset the seniority system. host: thomas is on the independent line. caller: good morning, everybody. i am in an interesting situation. in january of 2008 i was laid off my job. and then i had a medical problem. my doctor would not do the surgery without medical servants. i applied to the department of social services to get help. i was told it would take two or three months. with the rubber mat the road, i was 10 months trying to get medical help.
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in january of 2009, they head to up everything all over again. we have been in a paper work shuffle ever since. my doctor would not do the surgery without medical clearance. he got tired of waiting with the state of maryland. he said he could not do the surgery or i would go blind. host: since you are right in the middle of all this, what do you want to see out of washington? caller: i would like to see them make it easier for people to get help in my situation without having to go through so much red tape. they are telling me that all the financial decisions have to go through the state medical boards in baltimore. i have been waiting for over a year. i just want to get my doctor paid and get it over with. my hospital gave me a financial clearance and a two-week period
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of time. host: thank you. how much discussion is about reducing red tape and bureaucracy? guest: it dominates the discussion. one of the great complaints about the system is the one this man voice. that is that any kind of medical procedure takes forever or involves bills and statements and nobody understands them. this man is interesting because he reflects the problem that lawmakers are having. people are upset about the system. they do not like the system and they wanted change. how do you do that? how do you implement that? how do you cut the red tape? constituents like this are the kind of people that will be driving this effort. host: bradford, pa. on the republican line.
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good morning. caller: good morning. i think the entire problem the >> industries. you're killing the industry. -- i think the entire problem is killing the industries. we must get the cost of the employer. otherwise, american companies cannot compete. general motors will build a plant in canada. they will build a plant to mexico. they have got to get the burden of this insurance of their back -- off their back. companies from japan and korea build plants here. we are losing social security. we do programs that do not help our industry. you talk about the economy, they are going to kill it. insurance companies are not the
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military industrial complex. there are about 1300 of them, but the multimillion-dollar ceo 's and boards -- the people are being cheated. the president does not know the message. the message is america must compete. you have got to get the burden off these companies. you have the blue dogs -- i do not know where their noses are. i'm a capitalist. i invest. these companies are getting ruined by health care. host: thank you. caller: i see very little sentiment from a single payer system for lots of reasons. star with economics -- starch with economics. the federal budget is headed for a $1.8 trillion deficit. look at all the problems you are having now just trying to consider a public option.
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intellectually, a lot of people agree with this caller. economically, they are having trouble with it. host: here is an e-mail question from michael. guest: yes, and i am not trying to duck the question. it is addressing it in this sense. people are aware of that question. it is very hard the has this is such a moving target. yesterday the blue dogs came out with their plan and there is no piece of paper at the beginning to say here is what it is or here is exactly how much it will cost. it's very hard for us. today we will get into the same mess. if these six negotiators -- if
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they walk out at two this afternoon and say we have an agreement. our next question will become a show as a piece of paper so we can write about what it means to the consumer. host: the second question from michael west -- guest: i do not know. it is a terrific question. i will find out. host: next is massachusetts on the democrats line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i've watched your program constantly. we are always hearing people -- we always hear people say brightwork call your congressman. i do that constantly.
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then you see the representatives like barney frank in interviews. he will say, we have gotten calls, 300-to-1 against, and then they turned around and vote for it. guest: i do not mean to sound naive, but keep calling and writing. most of the members of congress listen to constituents. they want to hear from you. the press, frankly, would rather cover constituents coming to capitol hill. host: jose asked this question.
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guest: as i understand this, that is one thing they agree on. pre-existing conditions will not stop you from getting policies. you will be able to carry your insurance from job to job. they like to say they agree on 80% of this legislation. as far as i can tell, that is one thing they agree on. host: joe in michigan asked this question. guest: president obama addressed this yesterday at the grocery store in bristol, virginia and other senators have talked about this. it is out there. this bill is a work in progress. i hate to keep saying this. i would not rule out something
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about that in the final product. host: the next phone call is from kansas city, don on the independent line. caller: i keep hearing people talk about how profits are so good that insurance companies. in reality, our pension plans are investing in insurance companies, so they want to preface to go up. -- they want the profits to go up. this is a silly thing to do. you are trying to build some of these pension, and on the other hand, you are taking from them by raising the interest cost. what good is that? they talked about for reform -- tort reform. if they are going to do something on that, that is kind of blaming the victim for getting hurt. host: if you were in washington,
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how would you design a program? caller: i do not know. they have a lot of good ideas. they have to have a public option. it really needs to be single payer. as long as you leave in insurance companies, it will be a mess. there's nothing you can do. i have called my senator before. it is stonewall roberts and you cannot get anything out of that guy. is a true republican. the only democratic congressman in moore. he does not say a lot. there has got to be at least a public option to keep them on this. if they do not have that, it will be taxpayers' money with
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the bonuses to the big ceo's. they are already getting big bonuses as it is. host: thank you. on the single payer, is that debate finished in this town? guest: you can never say that. you cannot rule out anything until you have an entire bill. one piece of teit will affect another piece. host: when is the last time you heard anybody talk about single payer? guest: not recently. it is like going to the amusement park. the trick is to get everybody popping up at once. the minute you deal with tort reform, wait a minute, who does that affect? when you talk about single payer, where does the money come from? that will affect the deficit. you have to show how all the pieces fit. host: a regular viewer sends us
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this twitter message. the front page of "the washington post" looks like this this morning. we're talking about that this morning throughout our "washington journal" program. our first guest is david lightman who writes for mcclatchy newspapers. vienna, virginia, georgia and the republican line. caller: good morning. my most sincere desire is that mr. baucus and the other people holding this up are listening this morning. everyone i heard: in this morning are on the same side. they say the insurance companies do not want this to go through -- everything i've heard this morning, they are on the same side. mr. baucus wants to make coalitions with the republicans. i am a republican by the way.
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we did not elect the republicans out of office so we could keep mr. baucus in making coalitions. and like the previous caller said, keeping the ceo's from the pharmaceutical companies getting big paychecks. i have specific information about how things get paid. my wife used to work for the medical industry for a very long time. she was a medical office manager. 85% of her time was spent trying to figure out the new codes for the different types of services of the doctors will be performing because the health care companies change those codes very often. they do it on purpose because they're trying to deny coverage. i left corporate eight years ago and i work for myself. i pay $1,400 per month for health care and life insurance. i am not even cover for the
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thing that i need to be covered for the most, which is asthma. i lost a crown one year ago and i still do not have the money to pay for it. i wish that mr. baucus would listen to this. they would like to have single pay here. they would like for him to step down and get out of the way. let the democratic people who were elected move on with this legislation. host: david lightman? guest: the feeling earlier this year was that because health care is so big and so overreaching, it is 60% of the gross domestic product, that you should not do this on a party- line vote. you need 70 votes or 80 votes. this is going to change people's lives. they also used to say that about supreme court nominees. you put aside partisan differences when you have a qualified nominee. as we saw in the alito
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nomination and now with so the tomayor, there are few republican votes. there may be a sea change here. even on the biggest issues. max baucus, harry reid, and president obama are all trying to bring in at least some republicans. they realize they have to do that. there's also some raw, inside politics. you need 60 votes to overcome procedural hearinhurdles in the senate. senator kennedy has been ill. senator byrd has recently come back. host: "usa today" printed an article by mitt romney today. here's what he writes about the massachusetts health care plan.
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it took almost two years to find a solution. when we did, i passed that to letter-member -- it passed the two hundred-member legislature with only two dissenting votes. guest: yeah, and i think the president knows that, which is why you have this finance committee people on board. the reason that the president wanted these votes this week and next is they thought, and get something out there. do not give the interest groups and others time to mobilize in august. now they realize that is not realistic. i would not be surprised if we are talking about this around christmas eve. this is too big a change to do quickly. host: the next phone call is from wisconsin. i am never very good with the name of your town.
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you are on the air, beverly. caller: what i am concerned about is they tell us the can go to whatever doctor we want to. i am in wisconsin. my doctor is in minnesota. i feel we should have the right to go wherever we want for the doctors. i think part of the problem why everything is so high is the doctors themselves. you go to a doctor and you say, it might be this and it might be that, but they do not check to see what it really is. they keep coming back. after they get you on some medications, they keep having you come back to close together. this is going in the doctor's pocket. i have a grandson who went to a doctor and they kept saying he had muscle spasms. now he had to have heart surgery
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and everything else. if the doctors would have diagnosed him right away, he would not be in the condition he is in today. i believe a lot of the problems are the doctors and pharmaceutical companies for the high expenses. host: thank you. i'm going to move on to a call from frank on the independent line. caller: i have a very good health care coverage at this time and i believe i'll have it going forward. host: how do you get your health care coverage? caller: from my wife's plan. i believe the health care industry -- the reform is needed. after my cousin with sickle cell went to the doctor's office -- i
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am watching the skiese guys [inaudible] i am wondering why no one is bringing out the list of the senators -- the over $1 million the insurance industry spending every day. who are the ones collecting this money so we know who are the ones against the people. the last thing i want to say is, i do not believe there working for the people at this time. this is very simple. if the money the insurance companies spent in trying to kill the bill -- the bill must be against the insurance companies. the american people believe that the insurance companies are not doing a good job at this time. what about it?
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why are the president and his group trying to reform the bill to make it better for the people? host: thank you. i took away from that concerns over the influence that money has on the process. where can people find? out? guest: it is all online to the campaign contributions are all mine. committee for responsive politics has all the contributions. the can customize your search. lobbyist disclosures are online. it is all there. we watch this. some reporters work full time looking at this stuff and analyzing it. host: there is a suggestion that henry waxman's committee will meet again today and continue marking up their legislation, and there might be a committee vote by friday.
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in the house, how many separate committees are working on bills? guest: 3. . guest: the two committees offer their version of it -- that is what we have. energy and commerce will have a different version. anyone who reads that 1000 pages
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-- we try. host: to go for starting off our thursday with us. our guest will be senator tom harkin, a supporter of the public option. he will also tell us about the imminence he is putting in to help with prevention, issues like of the city. right now, let's go to c-span radio. >> it is just after 8:00 a.m. and president obama host the philippine president today at the bus. he later served beer to the harvard professor and the police officer following the rest by the massachusetts officer on charges of disorderly conduct. the three will meet at a picnic table outside the oval office. in addition to health care reform, congress is moving on emergency legislation to make sure there is federal money for programs to make sure that it lasts until members return from
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the august recess. the house passed the measure yesterday. there's a move to ensure that chinese experts are safe. speaking earlier in china, the head of the u.s. consumer product safety commission talked about setting up office in beijing by october and work with chinese regulators to make sure that chinese products meet u.s. requirements. stocks are up. at this hour the dow jones is up 77 and the nasdaq is up 30. -- the nasdaq is up 13. >> this week the senate judiciary committee voted to approve the nomination of sonia sotomayor. you can watch this saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. next week, her confirmation moves to the senate floor. live coverage on c-span2.
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coming in october, to the home to america's highest court, the supreme court. did it on c-span radio, here lbj phone calls with his secretary of state. you can also hear calls from richard nixon and the evangelist billy graham. >> george signed the declaration of independence and was also murdered. this author on that story. the killing that shocked the nation. "washington journal" continues. host: good morning, senator harkin. when i read headlines and keeps seeing commons the signal you are frustrated with negotiations. is that fair to say?
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guest: we are all frustrated that we're not moving faster. we have our bill done in our committee. we got our bill through and i think we have a really good bill that puts us where we want to be in reforming our health care system. now we're just waiting on the finance committee to get its job done so that we can put them together and come to the floor. negotiations are holding up, trying to reach an agreement in the committee. i think that senator chris dodd a great job getting our bill through. we had a bill that we had 54 hours of marked up, 13 days, over 700 and then minced offered -- we accepted 160 republican amendments on our bill.
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but then in the final say many people voted against it. when you talk about bipartisanship, the people elected barack obama to be our president and leave this country and being changes big and making changes. they also elected the officials and the house and senate to provide leadership. you propose changes but then open the door and let the minority command to amend it and change it. we both those things an open session. we proposed the bill, open ied t up -- no republican was denied an amendment. that is a legitimate legislative process we should be going through. people like us to lead and we are providing the leadership.
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host: the senator is with us for about a half-hour and we want to get to your calls. you can also e-mail us a question. you can send us a twitter message. senator, our last guest describes this process between house and guest like whack a mole. are there broad contours coming out as you watch this whole landscape? guest: i think so. first of all, we have a dysfunctional system. for a number of reasons -- number one, we forgot that a mother told us that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. we spend too much money patching and mending after people get sick, but spend very little on keeping your help the end of the hospital in the first place.
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i have worked hard on prevention and wellness and public health on our bill. moving that up to the front and putting more emphasis and keeping you healthy. that is the only real way -- president obama said that earlier this year to a joint session of congress. host: 1 is preventative care will get a stronger emphasis, what else? guest: secondly, we have to quit reimbursing on the basis of quantity and start reimbursing on the basis of quality. you get a lot of procedures and a lot of money with quantity. but we need more emphasis on quality care. host: is there another? guest: you bet, third, we need to have a public option plan that is universal in every state and territory.
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one that does not kick you out for pre-existing conditions, that is fully portable and you have whether or not you lose a job, something every person can rely on. fourth, we need to have some kind of an employer mandate or a pay-or-play. either employers provide health insurance or pay into the system a certain amount. but the most important single thing we can do to been the cost curve is to put more emphasis on wellness and prevention. host: let's take some calls and then we will return to learn more about the specifics of your pension plan. let me understand.
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you used the phrase "we need" so, is this expressing what you want to come out or what you think will come out? guest: it is what i hope happens. this is in the health bill we reported from our health and education committee on the senate side. host: we have been reading about these finance negotiations, the move toward local cooperatives as opposed to a public option. would you vote for that? guest: i do not know because we do not know what they're talking about. we have a lot of coops in our state, so i'm familiar with the form, but the question is this -- if you have a whole number of cooperatives around the country providing a health plan, it seems to me that does not reduce the cost that much. as we all know, one of the principles of insurance is that
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the bigger the pull, but the cheaper it is for everyone. that is why a national public option plan will be cheaper. if you have a whole bunch of cops out there i'm not certain how that works, or how it works for portability. but maybe they will work that out. i want to see how that really works. host: how are the e-mail and phones in your office these days? guest: the public knows what we're doing. it would be a huge number of calls, basically telling us to fix it, fix the system. secondly, so many people are losing their insurance. in my state of iowa we are 70 people per day who lose their
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health insurance just in my state. because of the downturn in the economy, jobs are lost and people can get health insurance. the third thing that they say is that the insurance companies, even if they are covered, it comes between them and their doctor. the doctors are practicing medicine -- they are getting reimbursed, not for what the doctor wants, but for what insurance companies one. host: let's hear from some of the c-span audience, beginning with texas. caller: good morning. i want to say that the government is the problem. government is not the answer to the problem. government does not do such a good job of medicare and medicaid. they are running into the ground.
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there is so much fraud. people do not think they're paying for it and that the government is. i would rather deal with an insurance company then with the government. at least if an insurance company said it will not pay for a procedure i think a need i can get it anyway and pay it out of pocket. if the government tells me i can get a procedure i think that i need there is no other recourse. people, you need to read this bill. i read parts of it. believe me, government is not the answer. guest: i don't know how to respond to that. the government is part of the answer. the private sector is part of the answer. the medical committee is part of the answer. the way that is presently set up it is dysfunctional. when you base it on quantity
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rather than the outcome of those procedures, you get more quantity. that is how we are spending a lot of money rather than looking at what the best outcome is. center mcculsky of maryland did a great job of putting quality measures and our bill so that we can measure outcomes. that is how we should be evaluating and reimbursing them. host: louisiana, you are on with the senator. caller: yes, i would like to compliment you on the bill you have marked up there. this call-up business, that is just problems that -- this coop business is just problems that the republicans are throwing in your face. it does not matter what we agree on, the republicans will not vote on it.
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you were elected and so was president obama to change health care and give us a public option, or a single-payer -- 72% want that. let the republicans get on television and make their silly ads. goodbye, i am sorry that i said that. host: what do you expect when you go on to hear from republicans? guest: it will be interesting. host: will you do down hall meetings which were famous for doing? guest: yes, we will have plenty of those. i think we will hear what we have been hearing for quite a while. that is that people are afraid of losing their insurance because they lose a job. they are afraid that if they lose insurance and have a pre- existing condition they will never be able to get insurance because there will be denied for
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having a pre-existing condition. people are concerned about the cost. i talked to a lot of people who say they like their health insurance, but then when they find out when they get ill what they're copays and deductibles are, it is a shock to their system. or the annual caps put on people buy insurance companies. many people think they have really good coverage until they run into the caps or the copays and deductibles. we have a lot of elderly in my state. i think we have the highest proportion of people over 80 of any stake in the nation at one time. we are healthy living. we are second or third in the number over 65, i think. we have a lot of people on medicare and i would. iowa -- this is a national
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program, should not speak so much about my state, but it is illustrative of certain problems. by the studies that have been done in terms of quality, we rank at the top in the quality of health care. but in terms of medicare reimbursement we are at the bottom. why is that? our reimbursement is down to 50th or 49th in the country. people in my state understand that because we do not get them based on the quality of care that we have. host: the next call is from the independent line. caller: you are two of my favorite celebrities. greetings to the c-span audience. if you help with the medical marijuana bill that barney frank introduced, and also save
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$500 billion -- showing that the war on drugs cost a half trillion per year in direct taxpayer outlays. so, another $1 trillion in the private sector. health care, save 99% off on the therapeutic portion by offering to patients who wanted alternative, natural attrition instead of amputation. host: i will interrupt at that point. guest: i do not know a lot about medical marijuana. i'm always willing to let the medical committee experiment with new drugs in the purchase. this might be a legitimate point of inquiry as much as i know
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about it. -- let them experiment with new drugs and treatments. 900 million office visits and 3.5 billion prescriptions are written every year for drugs and yet we're less healthy than we have ever been. something is wrong. dr. andrew wilde to me that the human body is programmed to be healthy. it is our default status. but everything we do in society is to sabotage the body and keep it from being healthy. therein lies the key. host: if people who are in programs would like to pursue alternative health care, should they be allowed to do so?
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guest: absolutely, and we put that into our bill for integrative medicine which is a lot to promise for people. not everyone who has something wrong with them needs a medical doctor. maybe they might need something else. maybe they need a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a psychologist to get at the root of some of their stress and problems. we have a clinic in iowa that i visited. you walk in the door and it is all electronic record-keeping. and it is under one roof that they have a medical doctor, a director of osteopathic, massage therapist, a psychologist, and i might be missing a couple of others -- all under one roof. they do a profile on you. you might have an illness but it
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is related to stress and you may not need a prescription drug, but something else to help you get well. we ought to look at the alternatives out there that can help to keep people healthy. host: the next call is from new york city on the line for democrats. caller: good morning. my question to you -- and this whole discussion from 7:00 a.m., everyone has talked about money and finance in terms of health care. i think it would be important to make the distinction because health is not about money. it is about people's lives. i would also like to ask you -- let me comment about what someone said about single-payer compared to coops.
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that would be incredibly expensive. the whole idea of single payer is to have one place where everybody can go with the least cost and the most effectiveness so that you would not have these issues and costs from state to state. mosmy last question is why is te whole system for profit? people could still make money with not-for-profit. there would still be boards. but the bottom line is that you do not have these excesses for people couch the system for millions or billions of dollars. the people who suffer are those in this country. thank you.
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guest: the caller makes a good point. when you look at the successful and highly rated medical approaches in this country, institutions, you think of the mayo clinic. you also think of the cleveland clinic. what is unique is that these doctors worked for celery. it is not a profit motive or how many procedures they do. -- the work force salary. the caller makes a good point. there are many fingers in healthcare part in this country. that is why it is so hard to change. there are many people making a lot of money on this system. medical device manufacturers, the pharmaceutical companies, privately owned hospitals, and
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on and on. but what are we trying to do? are we trying to reform the system so everyone can make money? or how do we get to the individual, keep the individual healthy, prevent illness, and what is the most cost-effective approach if that person does get bill to getting them back to a healthy status? host: senator harkin is talking about health care and if you get to his website you'll find more details about some legislative proposals he has included in the legislation. here is a sample of some of the language. this title six to make preventive health services available to all americans. the activities proposed by the title are designed to reduce or eliminate barriers for americans
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in achieving or maintaining health. what is the most keep in these proposals? -- what is most key? guest: i do not know if i would put an emphasis on one. the most important thing is for people to get the right kind of information about help the living. what they should eat, how much exercise they should get, and to provide mechanisms and society to reinforce the fact that our bodies want to be helped. everything we have done in society works against that. we need more healthful food that is good-tasting rather than sugar, fats, and sodium. we need more exercise in our daily lives. even schools, we have to make sure that our kids get a better start in life and get exercise.
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my goodness, we're building an elementary schools without playgrounds now. kids and not get enough exercise. then the machines -- susan, i'm amazed at the number of the new machines -- vending machines in our schools. the 20 pounds coke has the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar. host: do you support technician of the sugar drinks? guest: i would consider it, absolutely. it has been talked about and quite frankly i think it might be a way of raising revenues and perhaps saying, this is not the best thing for you. when i was in school we did not have vending machines and we had exercise every day. now we do not have exercised but we are loaded with vending
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machines with all kinds of bad food. what kind of signal are we sending to our kids about what they should eat and how they should live? we have to change those things. host: the next call is from mississippi on the independent mind. caller: i agree with most of what the congressman has said except on of the city. we have high fructose corn syrup on everything we eat and of congress could somehow regulate that out of our food products that would be helpful. please bear with me because i have had a brain tumor and had not been able to get an mri for three years or have a blood test because the cost over $500 and i do not have insurance. for those calling for tort reform, this has been around since the 1970's and has not reduced the cost of medicine.
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the cost of medicine has skyrocketed. the problem is the private sector. they make money by denying patients procedures and then dumping but they do not want to pay on the backs of the patients when the plan was to pay it. that is why $30 billion -- i heard that statistic some time ago. let me read to you -- the host: i will stop because we really do not have time. we will look at both of your topics. first on high fructose corn syrup. guest: we need to get that out of our food as well less sodium host: but you are from a corn- producing state. guest: but we have to focus on health. is not only high fructose corn syrup, the sugars. there is way too much in our foods. our foods are also just loaded with saddam. we already see hypertension and
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young kids, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. but -- our foods are just loaded with sodium. we spend twice as much as europe on our health care, yet we have twice as many chronic diseases. we spend more than any other country in the world on health care. right now in 1990 it was about 9% of our gdp and now is 16%. in 15 years if we do not do anything we will be up to one- fourth of our gross domestic product. we cannot afford this. when we look at other countries like canada and europe that have a single pair-type of system, people are very happy with it. i just saw a poll in canada which asked canadians if it would like to change their system for the american system
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-- 82% of the people said no. host: the last call is from mississippi on the republican line. caller: yes, i appreciate c-span and you, senator harkin. i consider myself an american patriot and a wish that the republicans and democrats in congress would all classified themselves as american patriots. just quit fighting. i know that you stand on principles, and i just spoke with a good friend of mine yesterday who got so disgusted with everything in washington that he just quit. my biggest problem is, as ronald reagan said, the government is the problem. we are trying to do too much in washington and get into a deeper hole. the root of the problem is the financial problem.
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put the whole financial system through bankruptcy and let's go to constitutional money. people could afford to see the doctor. we could afford to farm again. i ask that you please, please do that, and lord bless our country. host: please explain why the plan would not go into effect until guest: 2013 that is still open for debate. it is true that we cannot change the system overnight. we need two or three years to phase out the system in. it takes time for people to just. i understand that, but the bottom line is that our system
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is dysfunctional and we need a major change. let me quote dr. mark hyman who said that we need to change not only the way that we do medicine, but also the medicine that we do. the medicine we do now is patching commending, fixing, surgeries, prescription drugs. we need to put more emphasis on keeping healthy and out of the hospital in the first place. host: will there be health care legislation signed into law this year? guest: i believe so. it will probably be in november or december sometime. but i believe we will have a bill that will pass. i just hope -- i hate to sound like a broken record, but i just hope it puts a major emphasis on
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prevention. that is really the only way we will get these costs under control. host: senator, thanks for being here. i know that the c-span audience appreciates your willingness to take their comments. we will continue with more guests ahead. we will be back after this break to talk with a congressman, a senior republican on the energy and health subcommittee. we will hear his viewpoint on this legislation and its progress.
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>> this week the senate judiciary committee voted to approve the nomination of sonia sotomayor. watch the debate and the vote this weekend. then next week, her confirmation moves to the senate floor. live coverage on c-span n2. and tour the supreme court. >> hear the 1960 plan calls with a lbj with his secretary of state. nominee, richard nixon, and evangelist billy graham -- saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span radio. >> george signed the declaration of independence and was murdered. this author on that topic. the killings that shocked the nation.
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sunday, on c-span. "washington journal" continues. host: this senator is the ranking republican member on the health subcommittee of energy and commerce. congressman, this house bill is moving again as democrats strike a deal -- this is a headline here. this was about the blue dogs have been reached agreement on some compromises. what is the view from your perspective? guest: it is pretty hard when you are looking in from the outside and depending on reports that leak out of these negotiations. republicans have not been involved in these negotiations at all. these are democrat to the regret. we are on the outside looking in. we are trying to find out what
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is going on behind closed doors. host: how do you expect to play that hand, then? guest: we will do the best we can and emphasize the point we think are important. there are many points of mutual agreement between both parties. we recognize we want to bring the cost down in this country. we want to address things such as preventative health care. we want to maintain those choices we currently have. it all boils down to a question of freedom. we're looking at legislation that will take away freedom from the american people. when we put more people into government-run plans it deprives you of certain things. those are the concerns of republicans. host: let's put the phone
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numbers on the screen. you can also send us a message by the-mail or twitter. -- by e-mail or twitter. we keep hearing from the public, how does the plan bring costs down, expand the number covered, all without rationing or breaking the budget? guest: those of the questions that have not been answered. to their credit i think the blue dots are asking some of those. they have focused on whether we will decrease the cost of health care. as you may know, the original congressional budget office scoring that look at this original bill said it would not be the case. it will not even bend the cost curve. we are all concerned about
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whether this bill does anything to control costs. i hope we will all look at the product and agree on some provisions. we began with a bill that was over 1000 pages. the first day of hearings to do marked up in the committee we had a substitute bill even longer than the original. the first amendment by democrats was almost 75 pages. the product continues to change. until we see the final product it is difficult to reach any conclusions. host: the last question i asked senator harkin -- as long as you have been in washington watching this, will there be legislation of this year? guest: obviously, i have no say so.
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if there is movement within the energy and commerce committee this week, then perhaps they will have a product to bring to the house floor after the august recess. host: and if so, does it really depend on what it looks like as to whether or not there will be a bill passed from the house? guest: i hope so. the quality of the product is the basis of judgment. there are many unanswered questions. normally you would expect a markup process and the committee to answer some questions. to be able to give amendments to it. that has been restricted. we have been in a holding pattern. we do not know if we're going back in today. we probably will. it depends whether the democrats have been able to work out their internal differences. we're simply watching from the
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outside. host: let me find the" about process that suggests -- -- the quote, the one that says that in the old days there was more conversation with chairman dingall. guest: i think so. he was generally very good and open to the amendment process. here we have a timetable that has been enforced, not by the committee chairman, but from the top by the white house, from the speakers office. the chairman has been told to get the product out in a limited time from. with a bill of this magnitude, to try to do that in a short time frame is unrealistic. host: here is a question by twitter.
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guest: the answer to that is yes. there are incentives. if you are faced with the option as an employer of paying 8% tax to shift your employees into a public option, that will be cheaper. the private insurance the currently offer is in that 10%- 12% range. there is a natural incentive to shift into this government-run plan. there is another provision relating to another area. if you like your insurance, you can keep it. there is language in the bill that says if anything about your plan changes, then you cannot keep it.
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you are forced into the government auction. so, the answer is yes, there will be great incentives for private employers to shift to the government plan. host: herb is watching us on the line for democrats from michigan. caller: yes, i wonder why they're talking about doing away with the part c of the medicare? that is what i have and it is very good. but anything is good -- you guys want to take it away. guest: medicare part c is the medicare advantage plan. it was a program allowed for options to be offered, flexibility. i agree with the caller and think we should retain those
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options. they have been very successful. this is a cost-cutting measure on the part of democrats. they see the elimination of medicare part a c as a way to save money in order to put people into the government-run option. it is a cost-saver for them. there will be many people satisfied with these programs that will be disappointed to see them go. host: the next call is from washington, d.c. on the republican line. caller: good morning, i was trying to get through for the previous center. he kept pounding away on this issue of preventive care. -- i was trying to get through to the previous senator. i am sorry, i forgot your name sir. host: congressman deal.
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caller: freedom of liberty coast hand-in-hand with a counterpoint to preventative care. -- it goes hand in hand with prevention. he talked about the corn syrup and all of those things -- do not eat it. what happened to personal responsibility in our country? that was a founding principle and this nation. independence, liberty, and personal responsibility. it is all about letting us take care of you and tell you what you should do. it does not make any sense. this conversation is making me sick. guest: i think the caller is appropriate in his comments. it is true. we do not need a nanny state.
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to assume the government must make all choices for us is dangerous. it is not one of the founding principles. the right to make free choices is the basis on which our country has prospered. let's related to this issue of preventive care. if you want to incentivize people to do the right thing -- and i think that is appropriate, then you ought to be able to make a differentiation between premiums paid by those who exercise responsible lifestyles as opposed to those who do not. this legislation severely restricts the ability to do that. prevention and encouraging people to do the right thing should be an opinion both parties embrace. i am afraid when you start to legislate, government contends that it knows better than you
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do. host: this message comes by twitter. callerguest: yes, there has been agreement that there is a need for reform and the insurance industry. let me mention the third area, the area i think is the underlying premise on which this legislation is offered. we want to eliminate the uninsured people in this country. many of them are eligible for programs already there. many people are eligible for medicaid. they are simply not enrolled. there is a significant number of people who are in our country
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illegally who are counted in this 47 million uninsured. the taxpayers would want to know that republicans have amendments to deal with that. we will not let people who are here illegally get on the taxpayer-supported programs proposed in this bill. yes, there are reforms within the existing insurance industry the republicans embrace. we would like to see those as the first line of attack. host: let me tell you a little more about our guest. he was first elected to the house in 1992. before coming to congress he served as a captain in the u.s. army. he went on to mercer school of law and received his degree serving until 1992. he went on to serve as assistant district attorney for the northeastern district circuit in
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georgia. he was elected to the georgia state senate before coming to the u.s. congress. the next call is from massachusetts, carla on the independent line. caller: good morning. we have mandatory health care here in our state. it is a disaster. there is a shortage of primary- care and specialty physicians. i just waited six months to see a dermatologist. i am a registered nurse, also. i have a serious, unusual health problem where i have had to travel across the country to see various positions because there is not the availability. i think healthcare is a right that people have.
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the planned their turn to come up with in government will be a disaster. you do not have the physicians you need to manage a plan that will cover everybody. if it is available people will overwhelm the system even if they do not need the health care. i think everyone has the right to choose their physicians and be able to go when the need to. as far as insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, the financial system needs to be looked at. the prices are out of guest: control we all hear the same report from massachusetts. it goes with what we hear from
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canada. we see there is a distinct difference between coverage and access. we can mandate coverage, but if you do not have the physicians and hospitals to provide the access, then you have a severe problem. the caller is correct. she knows up close and personal how difficult the access issue is. we see the same thing along the canadian border. many of the provinces now have contracts with american facilities to provide services for canadian citizens who cannot get them in a timely fashion. having a piece of legislation that on its face says we will provide coverage by its very nature does not mean you have the access. host: this message comes by
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twitter. guest: that is an excellent point. that will be one of those things taken away. the flexibility to choose a high option plan as i read the legislation is virtually eliminated. many people would prefer that ability to choose. it is one of those freedom issues. i think the caller is exactly on point. we used to talked about having cafeteria plans. you do not have that option anymore. you take whatever the state mandates. now we are elevating that to the federal level where we will have an insurance commission that
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will dictate what your insurance coverage can offer. there are 53 new federal bureaucracies that will be created to make sure you make the right choice. host: the next call comes from the line for democrats. caller: yes, you have an impressive record. you and i are native to georgia. look across the table at susan and tell her some history we have from georgia. can you look across the table and tell her that you remember the time concerning integrated schools? revert back to where you are now with barack obama.
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people forget about history. tell susan about how people in georgia took about how the black boys could not go to school with white girls. host: let's put that aside and as kelli refers to the health care debate? guest: i am glad that you ask. many people do not want to address that this is racial. if you notice they do not talk about health care. we all need health care. rep deal, tell us, if mr. obama's health care plan is a real guest: health care plan you have not heard me use the president's name the entire time i have been here.
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i do not try to put labels on these issues in terms of personalities. we ought to look at the elements that are here, the fundamental facts, regardless of personalities involved. that is the basis on which i have made this discussion. you have not heard me engage in that and i will not. because i do not think that is productive. we ought to look at what we are being asked to except on behalf of the american people. will it be workable? will it enhance the freedom? will it enhance their choices, or will it come between them and their doctor in terms of deciding what is most appropriate? we ought to make decisions based on facts and not personalities. i agree with the caller to that extent. host: he is the ranking republican member on the energy and commerce subcommittee.
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guest: that is an excellent question and an excellent example. i know from firsthand experience of that is. my wife and i took in her parents. her mother had alzheimer's and my mother lost a leg at 90 years old. we cared for both sets of parents in our home. that is difficult. my wife was trying to teach school at the same time. we have other legislation we have sponsored as republicans to say we should give some degree
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of concern and credits for those kind of health care givers who do so in their home and give up the outside income they may otherwise earn. that is also an issue that must be addressed. instead of forcing you into a government-run plan, it would be better for us to give you a compensation to help offset the cost of your purchasing a policy that you would prefer to choose. you may choose one that has high deductibles. or one that has a catastrophic policy. for people in your category, the republican proposal would give you a refundable tax credit, or something to be converted into an asset. it is a much preferred system. it is preferred over giving a choice and rolling you into an expanded medicaid program, or forcing you into a government
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auction. host: on the republican line from missouri, welcome. host: callercaller: thank you fo honest and without platitudes. mr. senator harkin sounded like he had a great deal of platitudes. he said that the physician should be reimbursed per outcome of treatment. however, mississippi is the fastest state in the union. i am sure that many of those people go to the doctor many times per month, or whatever, because of high blood pressure, diabetes, or other problems. does that mean there will not reimburse the physicians in mississippi because the fat people do not change their habits? also, i would like to say that my employer and i pay into my medicare plan, have for many years.
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i am retired. i still pay and a ticket out of my social security check. i still have a copayment for prescription drugs which i thank you for doing. if they get through this, democrats and obama plan, it will end up like massachusetts and burke. the republicans have been treated like lepers. they said they would have a bipartisan legislation. not true. the democrats' stated clearly that they won, so they are the ones doing this. i heard conyers say he will not read this 1100-page bill. why should he? i also want to say that in this plan someone dug at the facts. my medicare premiums will go up between $200 -- i mean between $2,000.4000 hours per year. plus, it will be rationed.
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-- between $2,000 and $4,000 per year. guest: first of all, how will we pay for this plan? most estimates will be that there will be and $800 billion of new taxes. that translates into loss of jobs. it will be about 4.7 million jobs lost. higher taxes and the loss of jobs are things we do not want to see in this economy. but you are correct. this is a bill that is very broad in scope. we deserve the opportunity to examine all the details. it does not appear that it will be finalized and the house
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before the august recess. the august recess period will be a time for people like you and members of congress who are working on this will be able to examine what is in the legislation in greater detail. the conclusions that will be reached is that there should be serious changes in legislation before a final vote is taken. host: the last call from south carolina, good morning. caller: hello, i cannot hear. host: you have it be back. could you please hit the mute button? caller: that is okay. my question is, why is it that all the other western, industrialized countries have a universal health care and we do not? and why is our health outcome so far down at no. 37 in the world?
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we are somewhere between two very poor nations. follow the money -- where is the money going? it is going to insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. . . guest: now, it touches on the fact that one of the things that both sides agree on, we need to beef up the primary care opportunities. we have not incentivized for
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reimbursement payments doctors to go into primary care. we all recognize that that needs to be changed. that is one of the better parts of this legislation, that puts more money into the hands of primary-care physicians. that will hopefully translate into more doctors choosing to go into primary care. those are where you're early results show, access to primary care physicians. but we need to not get this legislation out of balance, because it is the specialists as we look to for the more serious problems that we face in health care. these are the challenges. what is the proper balance of legislation? there are things that republicans and democrats agree on. let's work on those. let's don't destroy the system that we have just because there may be a few things that need to be changed but we all agree need to be changed. but let's don't throw the good things away in the name of trying to move to a government run health care system. i think that is the message that all of us need to think about.
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host: thank you so much for being here. the markup is scheduled for 10:00 this time. guest: i was told that is probably correct. host: thank you for being here to set the discussion. we will listen to the headlines from c-span radio, then be here for half an hour for your telephone calls, and then our final guest will be a member of the blue dog polish debt and after brokered deal for what is happening in mr. rex and's committee yesterday. >> jobless numbers show that the number of newly laid-off workers rose last week. new claims for unemployment insurance increased by 25,000, above analysts' estimates. more and senators chris dodd and kent conrad and claims of their vip mortgage rates. the two democrats suggest that the latest news on the issue is the result of one republican, congressman darrell issa the two
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senators questioned whether the republican used a private deposition by a former countrywide financial employee in claims that the senators were receiving lower than normal mortgage rates. both democratic senators say that congressmen issa never contacted them for their side of the story. representative pete sessions says on his web site at earmarks have become, in his words, "a symbol of a broken washington to the american people." yet in 2008, he steered a $1.6 million earmarked for research to an illinois company whose president acknowledges having no experience in government contracting or building plans. new york democratic senator kirsten gillibrand has a new state director. he replaces the former director, who is join her former boss, secretary of state hillary clinton, at the state department. the new director was previously
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chief of staff for don edwards' presidential campaign. the case of a guantanamo detainee goes before a federal judge today. the judge has expressed impatience with how the u.s. has handled the case of a man who has -- rolled a grenade at an interpreter. of what a statement from the taliban buttons to block roads to polling stations and mocks the august 20 presidential vote as part of what it calls a failed american strategy for the country. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> "washington journal" continues. host: it is back to you. we will hear your comments on what we're calling the health care thursday. the energy and commerce committee have been reaching a stalemate with its members, announcing a negotiated deal with the blue dog members of
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that committee. here are some of the headlines that come out of that. "lawmakers cut health bills price tag." all the way across the country in arizona, it looks like this, "house democrats, party rebels reach a deal on health care." "the boston globe" tells us that when members go home next week, "advertising blitz said on health bill." phones are open and we would like to hear from you continuing the discussion, and then in the final half-hour, our guest will be our girl pomeroy of north dakota, a democrat from that state's -- will be earl pomeroy from north dakota, a democrat from that state. let's begin with a call from baltimore, re on the democrats' line. caller: good morning. how are you today? i am calling in reference to what the gentleman said before about health care.
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the blue dogs and the republicans are teaming up against the president. i think that is wrong. i think this country needs a new health-care system, and i think it should be delivered in a long time. it is always a postponement when it comes to health care in this country, and we should do something about it. host: next comment is from iowa, robert an independent line. caller: i have a quick article i have written. can i do that? host: short. caller: what did jesus say? why does america need for cover child care -- the full coverage health care? a rich man died and was carried to hell, where he was tormented to everyday.
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jesus said to love the lord and your neighbor as thyself. jesus told him the story of a man on the road to -- who was robbed, beaten, and left to die. the good samaritan took him in and took care of him. make your choice. it is heaven or hell. beyond that, i am wondering which one are you, america? are you one of the rich man who says, "i have health insurance and i don't care for anyone else," or are you someone else? host: robert, thank you, from davenport. next one is from clarksville, tennessee -- gone, so let's move to a mobile, alabama. clinton on the democrats' line. caller: something needs to be
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done for health care, the lower class people, the people with no health insurance. host: a twitter message -- next up is can, watching us in cleveland. independent line. caller: if this plan was so good, how come the president and house members aren't covered on this? host: what would you like to see happening? caller: what i would like to know is why is the citizens -- host: i understand. are you happy with the situation as it is? what would you like to see happen? caller: i would like to see the people provide for themselves. host: "the washington post" today -- "house seems to be set on the pork-padded defense bill.
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the democratic controlled house is poised to give the pentagon and dozens of new ships, planes, helicopters, and armored vehicles that defense secretary robert gates says the military does not need next year, acting in many cases to response to defense industry pressures and campaign contributions under approach that he has decried as business as usual and vowed to help and. the unwanted equipment in a military spending bill has a price tag of at least $6.9 billion. the white house has said that some but not all of the extra expenditures could draw a presidential veto of the defense department's entire $636 billion budget for 2010." next up is anderson, indiana. republican line. caller: good morning. i was just trying to reach this individual health insurance policy.
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they will not send me a copy of what the contract would be. all you can see is the advertising firms. their policies that you sign up for the policy and you get 30 days, and if you don't like it, you can cancel. it is the same insurance with other insurance companies. the republicans want to make things better. if they would pass a law that says that insurance companies would have to make use of the contract is before you sign it, that would be helpful. host: next is florida, tim, a democrat. caller: first time i called. i is one of talk about the hypocrisy of the republicans talking about how bad it government-run health care would be. oh, it is so terrible. i do not see them bringing any bills are anything to the floor
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about medicare or the veterans health care that they get, all run by the government, and they are doing good on it. host: this is a in a number of papers today -- "gates says that the faster exit from iraq is possible." next call is from austin, texas. this is jim on our independent line. caller: it is my understanding that federal employees are not on this plan. i also understand all autoworkers are not under this plan. can you answer this question, if autoworkers under this plan as well? host: i cannot, sir. i apologize. call your member of congress, or go online and read the bill, which is posted on our website, i am sure you can do a word search on it, because you are hearing that is 1000 pages-plus long. next call is from green castle,
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pennsylvania. this is bob, and he is calling us on the republican line. caller: i have one question. i worked all my life and i just retired. they are going to do away with medicare? i have medicare and i like my insurance. i go to the hospital and i paid for by insurance and it takes care of me. and i still going to have the choice or are they going to do away with medicare? host: is the bottom line that you are happy with things the way they are? caller: yes. host: thank you for your call. next up is fort worth, susan, democrats line. caller: i have a couple of comments, but one of the scariest things i saw on tv is a virginia foxx saying that the government is out to kill
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seniors. i'm 65, and i've had a living will for over 25 years. it is just a smart thing to do. that is all it is about. i want to tell you a very quick story. i have a bank of america credit- card, and last month, the bill did not get posted, the payment deducted posted. it to beat two days and three phone calls to figure out what it was. it was the post office, and it apparently affects thousands of people. that left all of us with their correcting, overdue. my point is that it was the post office. everybody thinks the post office is a government agency. back in nixon's time, he privatized the post office.
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he privatized the military, where we have all of the outsourcing on military, which has been a problem. and he also privatized health care through kaiser permanente a, and look where it is now. you know, we need to wake up and stop trying to scare everybody, and really work on this. host: from "the new york times," dateline paris, "ireland to accept two from guantanamo. with the guantanamo administration struggling to fulfill a promise to close guantanamo bay detention center in cuba, the irish justice minister said that his country would accept two prisoners for resettlement." next up is louisiana, independent line. caller: i watched "washington journal" at least five times a week.
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host: well, great, thank you. caller: they added the representative from north carolina. i had -- i forget his name. it turned out that he was a doctor before he was a senator. how are you going to cure health care when you have doctors who will not step on their buddies' toes by lowering their wages? i had a stand to put in my artery. i charged -- i was charged $20,000 for 20 minutes. nobody -- i'm sorry -- needs to make that kind of money. that is why the health care system is in the mess it is in, because you have doctors making extreme amounts of money. you have insurance companies trying to dictate what the health care plans look like.
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take a plan like france or britain and implement it. just do it, you know? you have got to get the agreed out of this. -- the greed out of this. host: that is wrong in louisiana. we are spending all of this thursday morning -- that is ron in louisiana. we are spending all this thursday morning talking about health care. energy and commerce, chaired by henry waxman -- the blue dogs forged a compromise and the legislation will continue to mark up. here is the headline from "the denver post." we will have a member of the blue dog a coalition, earl pomeroy, here to tell us what is happening and what his view of the progress is. next call is florida, traci, republican line. have to push the button for
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traci. good morning. caller: i enter my family through my job and i pay for the high health premiums. i certainly think that things need to improve along the lines of insurance and premiums and coverage. one thing, though, that i am concerned about is the rationing of health care that i think is just about going to have to be done if we go to a public plan. you know, i continually hear the comments from people that think, well, we spent all this money on the iraq war and did this and that could unfortunately, yes we did, but you still have to deal with where is the money going to come from, regardless of what happened before. where is the money going to come from? you will not have an a plus health care system unless people are really willing to fork over large amounts of money. that is what i want to see,
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because people always want something until they have to pay for it. host: this is from "de san francisco chronicle" about the deal struck with the blue dogs. host: next call is from oregon, terry on the democrats' line. what is on your mind? caller: i would like to talk about prevention.
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american civilians were asked to contribute in specific ways, rationing this and that whenever. and the response was tremendous. but today it seems that to ask us to do anything is political suicide. you get your opponents ridiculing you for suggesting to keep your tires inflated for gasoline. it does not help. we need to ask the every american -- everyday american to live healthier. one way to do that is to certify the walking program, asking us to walk 20 minutes a day. that will reduce chronic diseases significantly. that is a medical fact that anybody can research. local businesses can give discounts to people who are certified walkers, and the government can give those businesses tax credits. subsidized by local business community, and you can see an outline of the program at
9:20 am a certified walking program to reduce traffic crashes. host: are you already walking 20 minutes a day? caller: yes, i do. i walk my dog. i'm a truck driver, and i manage to walk 20 minutes a day. i walk in the morning and also in the evening. two or three times a week i find ways to exercise. host: how long have you been doing that? caller: many years. i watch what i eat, i exercised regularly could occasionally i see other truckdrivers walking around i talk to a guy who walked 30 minutes a day and has lost 30 pounds. he eyed the recommended it. i think it is a great idea. democrats don't the two
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republicans are asking us, and republicans, don't ridiculed democrats for a asking us to do something to contribute to the help of our country. host: today is the day when the president has invited henry louis gates to the white house, along with police sergeant james crowley of the camera to police force -- the cambridge police force. they will have a picnic table set u set -- a picnic table set up just outside the oval office. obama hopes that the chat will diffuse the controversy over the arrest. next on call is from charleston, south carolina. louie's on the independent line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to make a comment about -- i find it amazing how the republicans and the yellow dog democrats, because there is nothing blue about them,
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including lieberman, a good fight against health care reform when they ran this country into the ground. we had a trillion dollars surplus when president bush took office. now we have a trillion dollar deficit. we spent millions in defense funds for the iraq war. this plan is going to be, like, a trillion dollars over a 10- year period, but you just reported in money for articles that the defense fund for 2010 is going to be $686 billion. when you compare that to the health care costs for americans over 10 years, one trillion dollars, that is just insane. how can we say to uninsured americans that we want to give
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their tax dollars to bankrupt companies and to support war, but we cannot give health insurance? the president has only been in office for six months, and he will not be able to solve all this without the republicans and democrats, including the yellow ones, to work together and get us out of this mess. host: i have gotten a twitter message from someone -- well, i will just read to you. "i am damned if i can find the link to the plan on the web site at." how to find the senate legislation -- the house bill is not up there, but within the next half hour, it will be. next on call is from ohio, joe, republican line. caller: the defense of this country is 10, 15 times more
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important than health care for everybody. 80% of the american people like their health care. i just wish the democrats would be honest and would only worry about the 20% that don't have it, and i wish they would just be honest. what is going to happen -- i read part of this bill, and this is not even the right bill by the end of the month. once they have it down pat, then they bring it out on the web site, because there is going to be so many changes in this. and the people just need our money. that is all they need for the health care. i'm not being stingy or nothing. 80% of the people like their health insurance. we just need tort reform. he had this big stimulus bill,
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and 10% -- host: your call is breaking up. you have been reading this bill for nothing, but if you come across an area that you either really like or don't like, are you likely to communicate that with your congressman? caller: i already did. host: why is it for nothing, then? caller: they are still drafting the bill. host: but they make changes because they hear from people who are interested. caller: but when they come back from the recess, there will be a lot of things changed on it, and they will not give us time to read it. that is just how democrats are. they will make so many changes on this, and i'm reading this, and by the time it actually comes out, there is going to be so many things changed. but yet they will not give us time to read the original. you know what i'm talking about? host: thank you for your call. we have about four more minutes
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and then we will be joined by congressman earl pomeroy, a democrat from north dakota, a member of the blue dog a coalition. good morning, barry. caller: the last caller said that 20% of people are uninsured. 20% of 300 million or more is about 60 million people. that means that is how many is uninsured it is actually one more than that. how i could pay for the new plan that whoever is coming out with, because i do not think anybody wants to put their name on it yet. what you could do is take all the payments that people are already paying to the insurance company and cut it in half and send it to the government instead, and the government will avoid all contracts if other insurance companies want to come back and sue the people for stopping the insurance coverage.
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then what they could do is have some kind of binding contract -- i don't know if there are any or not. then you could take those same 20-some million, about 60 million people, and those who could instantly put on the insurance, and within five years, it would be paid off. host: thank you for your suggestions. up next is upper marlboro, maryland. caller: this is what i would like to contribute to the conversation. i'm a diabetic of the 43 years, with glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis. my husband has blood cancer. he is on a drug that costs $4,000 a month. insurance is paying for it and has been paying for it. host: where do you get your insurance from?
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caller: i personally and disabled, and my secondary insurance is a blue cross. host: is that what is covering your husband's care? caller: my husband is on the cross, correct. this is what i would like to say -- if this goes to a single pair -- people, listen up -- care is going to be rationed. people are going to die. virginia foxx was correct. my husband is going to die. he was in a trial and he went on another drug. this drug that he is on, he has been on for two years. it works. they just cannot slash medicare from people that have complications, send them into a single payer where they cannot see specialists for the
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complications that they have. i do believe that every citizen should have insurance, and president should be working on those that don't have health care, and cover them, will leave the rest alone. host: best of wishes to your husband and his progress there. last call, a san antonio, texas, republican line. byron, you are on the air. i'm laughing because once again, i did not push the button. my fault. sorry about that. caller: no problem. i just want to say good morning. anybody who thinks a government- run health care plan is going to be good should go to the va. that is run by the government and it really stands. -- really stinks. it took me six months to get an appointment. if that is what you want, that is what you will get.
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host: thank you for the call from san antonio. it is health care thursday on "washington journal." our final guest for the morning is congressman earl pomeroy of north dakota. we will be right back with him. >> this week, as expected, the senate judiciary committee voted to recommend the confirmation sonia sotomayor as supreme court justice. what the debate and see the vote this saturday on c-span. next week, for confirmation moves to the senate floor. live coverage of the full senate debate on c-span2. coming in october on c-span, tour the home of america's highest court, the supreme court.
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>> on c-span radio, hear 1968 lbj phone calls with his secretary of state, dean rusk, republican presidential nominee richard nixon, an evangelist billy graham. saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span radio. >> george wythe signed the declaration of independence and was also murdered. this sunday on "q&a," bruce chadwick. host: congressman earl pomeroy is a member of the blue dog a coalition, and we are continuing our discussion on health care. we have been showing people the three major provisions of the deal or compromise that the blue dogs on the energy and commerce committee struck with mr. waxman and others yesterday. there is a line in the statement
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that says -- what should we take away from this? guest: low, each of us have our responsibilities to the districts that sent us here. we will not think i entirely one mind on these matters. the blue dog coalition plays a very important role. we want to make certain that the government runs in a fiscally prudent and appropriate way. that we live within our means and address the nation's problems. we share the same philosophy as blue dogs, but even the committee vote, with four blue dogs deciding that this is a deal with taking, three not quite there yet, shows that 3 yds and a cloud of dust kind of
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forward, but not a breakthrough that is going to suddenly send things to the house. host: daniel henninger is a longtime member of "the wall street journal" editorial board and he has this column today. "the struggle over health care legislation is not just another battle over democratic and republican parties, but which will things forward, the public sector private sector. for centrists in both parties, the moment has come to decide which side of the public-private divide they want the u.s. and its future workers to be on. trying to live in both has brought us, inevitably, to that decision." what you think about that? host i isguest: i disagree withe promise.
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some people think it has to be all government or no government. let's take health care. medicare is a government program. medicaid, providing health care for those who cannot afford it, a government program. making certain that veterans have the health care they have earned. government programs and on the other hand, most of us have private coverage, a privately insured. it is a mix now and it will be a mix at the end. our challenge is to make sure we keep what works and what people like, but address the things that don't work, and most particularly, right now american families have no security that they will always have coverage. and they lose a job, they lose their coverage. maybe someone in that family has a medical condition and they cannot get additional coverage. we want to make sure that at the end of this whole reform effort, as blue dogs and as democrats, that families will have the assurance that they will always be able to obtain health insurance that their family needs, and be able to afford the
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coverage, too. host: mr. pomeroy was first elected to the house in 1992. he is at large for north dakota. he serves on the ways and means health subcommittee and also the social security and trade and agriculture committee. before coming to congress, he was a lawyer in private practice, served in the north dakota house to present it is from 1981 to 1985, was the state insurance commissioner, and serve as the president of the national association of insurance commissioners. how does that work shape your thoughts on what was the appropriate health care package? guest: it was incredibly helpful. the business of being an insurance commissioner and making sure that consumers get a fair shake from insurance companies. a big portion of this health reform effort is insurance reform. right now, the more unique coverage, the less inclined insurance companies are to want to provide that coverage. we are going to change that.
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people will be able to get the coverage they need. when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and trying to give insurers a fair shake, i'm a former state insurance commissioner in congress, and it gives me a useful perspective that i am trying to put in the next year. -- in the mix here. host: why our interests supporting the legislation? -- why are interest supporting the legislation? guest: they are waiting to see with a final product is. costs have gone up because we have medical inflation that year in, year out, runs 2.5% above regular inflation. costs to getting more and more expensive. the premiums to cover the claims paid for those keep going up. we have had about 45 million people without coverage at all. tens of millions more that have
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coverage but don't have any certainty that the time they are done with deductibles and copays and what not that they will be medically bankrupt if they have a serious health and in their family. host: why our costs in medical care going up higher than the rate of inflation? guest: that is the heart of the problem. we have to get our hands around the costs of care going up. we have had a wonderful technology breakthroughs and improvements in medicine. we salute those. on the other hand, there is disturbing evidence that we have procedures being administered that are not necessary, contributing to public health. tremendous variation even within the united states. variation of two to three to one, depending on the number of claims and procedures provided, bills sent to insurance companies. we need to get our hands around
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these high utilization areas where costs continue to just absolutely outstripped all other parts of the country. the most astonishing thing about this is that there is pretty good evidence that there is no link between the highest cost of care and the highest quality of care. in fact, there is medicare data from all the claims that medicare pays that shows very often the highest quality is occurring in the lowest cost regions in the country. we need to get our hands around what is happening now. host: if you have joined us along the way, he may not realize that we have been added for 2.5-hours-plus year. it is health care thursday. mr. pomeroy joins us in that conversation. let's get to some phone calls. guest: great. caller: good morning. i have two questions. first, i would like to ask a representative if -- if he would
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stand in front of the rest of the country and hold up health care. that is one of the questions. second question, do you represent the people or the health-care industry? and how much money do you receive from the health-care industry in donations? guest: first, there is kind of a promise to the first part of the question that i want to address very directly. you say, coming from a small state, who are we to block a national health reform? look, national health reform has to work for role as well as urban areas. we are in this together as 50 states. i have people who are just as concerned about their health care as new york city, l.i., anywhere else. what we have had in the house is a plan that, i believe would
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bankrupt every hospital that i represent. if you have a public plan optioned paying medicare rates, we will bankrupt the north dakota health care delivery system. now, i don't think that is much for reform. i would not want to be part of a reform that devastates the health infrastructure of any state. it is my job to make sure that we get a fair play in rural parts of the country like anywhere else. that is the first part of the question. secondly, you raised some objections. if you are not just going to go with the flow here, people start putting at what kind of motives you have. it is unsurprising that being the only former insurance commissioner in the house, i know something about this industry. people are going to say, "look, he is on the take." that is just a simple way of not dealing with the substance and the merits of the issues i am raising. i cut back on that matters that
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i am -- i had a background that matters that i'm interjecting into this debate. host: this is from "the wall street journal closed with the editorial today. -- "the wall street journal" the editorial today. "the rate would quickly rise to 8% for firms with apparel of 400,000 or more. a tax credit would help a very small businesses adjust, but even a firm with a handful of workers is likely to be subject to this payroll levy. as we went to press, blue dots were taking credit for pushing those payroll amounts to $750,000, but those are still small employers." would you comment on that, please? guest: susan, let me quickly provide a conceptual framework for how this works. if we make certain that families have the ability to get the coverage, no matter what, when they needed, we have to have
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everybody in. you want to have the young people, people at all stages of their lives, in. that means you have to have universal coverage if you have all in, we need to make certain everyone is participating. if you have that, you have to have employers pay their role -- played a role, and people who for one reason or another are not getting coverage at work, get them to play their role. circling back, then, people in the employers, including small employers, will have to do their part. some of the discussions here, on behalf of a blue dog concerns, are extremely important, and they got the small employer exemption doubled. like the article notes, $250,000 is no longer applicable. the largest charge will begin at
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half a million dollars. -- lowest charge will begin at half a million dollars. it will ratchet up. we recognize it will bring a small employers in, but we believe that the smallest, most of vulnerable and financially strapped employers will not be excluded under those blue dog limits. will the -- now be included -- will now be excluded under those blue dog limits. caller: everything we do now is being done on borrowed money. we will be a debtor nation for the foreseeable future. we need to pull up on the reins and try to get this under control before we go into something as massive and all encompassing as federalized health care, because right now, the government does not have a very good to hold on what is
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happening. they are treating the american taxpayers like nothing. we have millions of unemployed right now, and seeking jobs. we have millions of illegals seeking jobs. you are talking about spending billions and billions and billions trying to get the economy under control, and go at this medical business with a the more measured -- with a little more measured consideration. this is ridiculous at a time like this. host: thank you. appreciate the comments. guest: she put a lot on the table for me to respond to good first, she said to take a measured approach. i think we want to, while directly addressing the major problems of this country, which include health care, make certain that we are preserving what is working and addressing what is not. the blue dogs felt very strongly that a vote for going the august
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recess was too much, too quick. we wanted to have the weeks of august to go back to our district, hold forums, interact with constituents, listen to all the stakeholders points of view, so that we get the perspectives of the people we are representing before we come back and asked to vote on a bill before the house. i agree with her on that. i agree that we cannot continue to run up this horrible national debt. president obama has put out as a central marker, and we support him completely -- this bill must be paid for. peter orszag head of office of management and budget, it says that it must be paid not just over 10 years, but the second 10 years past be paid for. we are talking about something that does not run up the national debt. let me contrast that to the prescription drug bill of president bush. it was not paid for a spec, not a nickel.
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that is the wrong way to do business. when president obama says we will pay for this bill, that is an important matter. finally, we cannot afford not to do something. left to its own devices, health care costs have risen 300% since i was commissioner in 1990. the government pays about 55% of the health-care bills in this country. runaway health inflation, these utterly out-of-control increases, are bankrupting families, but guess what? they are threatening the very financial stability of the united states of america. that is why we have to do something. host: react to this comment from twitter -- guest: i think, again, the premise is not entirely correct. in north dakota, we have the rural hospital but the uninsured
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is about 10%, which compares favorably across the country. the premise of that and comment again it seems to be who cares about rural? we have to pass a plan that works for everyone. the american people, whether they live in the big cities or the countryside, ought to have their health insurance system improved. they ought to have the security of their family with coverage. for someone to suggest that you can fix in my neighborhood and i do not care about yours is not going to go w. host: ohio, bernie, independent- minde -- independent line. caller: good beautiful morning to you, mr. pomeroy could i will have a question and then a statement.
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have you heard of the term k- is-s? guest: yes. keep it simple, stupid. caller: i sold life and health insurance when i got out of college, and over the years, i had people who became self- employed and they asked what i would recommend i cannot tell you what i recommend, because you are an attorney and you cannot understand the average health insurance contract. i am really amazed by the number of e-mails i am getting right now from the right wing saying all these demagogued things about the health care proposals. there was a gentleman on television the other day talking about the minute we try to integrate a public plan with a private insurance industry, it becomes very complex. that complexity allows people like bernie madoff and wall street to do what it did,
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because they invited these very complex investment tools, and look at the number of people, the billions and trillions of dollars scammed from people. i am afraid that will happen if you try to integrate private and public. google canadian health care and see what it says about -- host: thanks, we get the point. guest: there is a part of what you're saying that i want to address, but may be slightly off points from your questions. the extraordinary complexity of health insurance. as someone with a background in insurance, uni -- you and i, i expect, will agree on this point the great feeling is that health insurance companies have found that it is more cost-effective to withhold coverage from people who needed than to manage the exploding costs of health care for those who have
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coverage. they are in the coverage denial business rather than the cost management business, and that has been a problem. we hope that there is a new competitive element on the scene. the senate is talking about cooperatives. the blue dogs have advanced the notions of cooperative in the house negotiations. a public plan option, as long as it plays fair and square, is a good competitor. maybe adding more competition is going to help, focusing on not just denying coverage to people who need it, but making certain that people have the coverage and it will keep their families secure while we make sure that the coverage continues to be affordable. that is the thrust of what we're trying to achieve. host: whether it is a combination of private and public or universal private insurance, if a system is based on a fee-for-service, how do you ever keep those costs from escalating?
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guest: once again, susan, you really put your finger right on the pulse of it. fee-for-service -- we pay for every service provided. the greater the volume, the greater the payment. awareness of the committee says that we have a system responds to incentives, and if you provide incentives for volume, you will get volume. that is what has been the driving force of medical inflation over all of these years. there is a very interesting and different approach -- are very interesting and different approaches to health care personnel the best medical systems in the country have doctors and hospitals under one enterprise. the doctors are salaried, and basically given that kind of time they require to make certain they understand their patients' needs and can prescribe accordingly. that is such a preferable thing for so many physicians to the kind of pressure that other systems have them on where they run people in and out at a quarter hour because they have
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to hit the building target. it is no way for these skilled professionals to be practicing in their art and science. we ought to look at ways to provide some relief from this fee-for-service billing pressure that we put upon our doctors. and hopefully, the kinds of insurance reforms we are advancing, the new competition in the marketplace, some of the other cost ideas that we have advanced in this bill, are going to evil our system away from this fee-for-service over -- evolve a system away from this fee-for-service overtime. host: how can you work this into the legislation? guest: i hope we have more opportunity to know what the costs are, and the consequences here and other places. one of the bills that i've introduced would create what is called an untenable care organization, and in this -- and
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accountable care organization, and in this, the doctors and insurance come together and establish quality targets and then they shoot to make sure that the operations are performed more efficiently than in the past. if they are, they are given a portion of the savings that they could to bid to the system. -- that a contribution to the system. this will provide an interesting opportunity for providers and consumers alike. host: next telephone call, bill, republican line. caller: good morning, c-span. i have a question and then maybe a follow-up. i would like for you, as an elected servant, to the american people, working in the federal government -- excuse me -- to be able to provide to us a copy of
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your contract with your insurance so that we can better understand how you are covered. host: thank you. we get that question a lot about the congressional health plan and white americans cannot have a program like members of congress to permit -- why americans cannot have a program like members of congress do. guest: i think we want to provide coverage like members of congress have. you can learn from the standard options available to any federal employee. i have the blue cross option. i expect that maybe that is even available online. you can look at the terms of the coverage i have for me, my wife, and my children did i think that is important that we blow that won wide open and you have the information. again, the same as any other federal employees. host: here is a live picture of
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henry waxman's committee. they're scheduled to that -- scheduled to get to work a few minutes from now. we will televise that on c-span 3. you can also watch it live on the internet, tennessee, democrats line. caller: i have a comment and a short question. i have been on disability for 17 years. in that 17 years time, i have not been able to afford any kind of dental coverage. i don't know if you know, but your dental can cause you a lot of other illnesses and pain. i had to allow my teeth to rot and get rid of them because i could not afford $90 to get them pulled. when i used to be on food stamps, and this still has to do with health care -- on food
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stamps, i could buy potato chips and candy, but i could not buy a toothbrush, toothpaste. i'm wondering if maybe you guys should not work on allowing dental on medicare, allowing people to buy hygienic items on food stamps, and my main question to you, sir, is what you say in session through august to get this done? guest: first, let me express my sympathy for the situation that you found yourself in. the deal with your teeth is horrifying. host: did you know that you cannot buy toothpaste or toothbrush with baristas? gu -- with food stamps? guest: it is nutrition.
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the color raise interesting point about buying candy but not by toothpaste. that is not right. we understand the link between dental care and health. the papers in washington carried the perfect story of a boy who died because he cannot get a tooth extracted. that occurred a couple of years ago. he was about the age of my son. that one really impacted me personally and in terms of its emotional impact. we try to deal with this whole health care picture and dental is part of it. you mentioned august. i think the best thing that we can do in august is go back and talk to the folks we represent about this. this is a big issue for our country. i think we are having a very lively conversation about it. it is important to have this lively conversation. susan anchoring this chair for three hours today. this is precisely what has to happen as we assess where we are.
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we are all, in looking at that, the runaway costs, and 40 million uninsured, without the fundamental security of insurance when the family needed -- you come to the conclusion that the status quo is broken and we need to do something. what to do is the trick of it. the best thing we can do is not talked to ourselves, but talk to the people we represent. we have a better idea what we will do when we come back. the bill will be marked up in each of the three committees -- energy and commerce is going today, education and work force at the market already, ways and means had the market already c- -- had the mark-up already. one of the committee members said that this will be the mother of all mark-ups. you are in for a long but interesting go of it. we will have these various approaches out there through
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committee for people to consider as we have these discussions during august. host: texas -- kermit, you might be our last caller today. caller: good morning, representative. i wanted to share some health care stories for you about myself. first of all, i want to thank you for telling the gentleman about the government insurance plan. all government employees have the same plan. i worked for the government, and we chose a kaiser plan in california that was really approved by the u.s. government. the delivery system is out there. there are plenty of delivery systems there. my question is this -- i see the health care system operating free much like medicare, and all the government would be doing is processing and pay for billing. once the standards have been set for health care, it cannot be ra


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